Artemisia plant has been known for hundreds of years as a traditional medicine across the globe. In European cultures, it has been recommended for boosting appetite and improving digestive disorders, while in African countries it is used as a natural anti-malaria supplement. The plant has been researched quite well with many clinical trials verifying its beneficial properties, such as improving diversity of gut microbiome and helping combat Malaria.
This aromatic perennial herb is found in almost every part of the world, including Africa, Asia, and Europe. The plant has greyish-green feathery leaves and bears small cream-coloured flowers in summer. It forms part of the daisy family and has over 400 species. The most known types of Artemisia are Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood), Artemisia cina and Artemisia argyi (used in Tradititonal Chinese Medicine).
Artemisia varieties native to South Africa are Artemisia afro and Artemisia annua.
Artemisia is also known as Wormwood (English), Wilde Als (Afrikaans) and Lengana (Tswana and Southern Sotho) and mhlonyane (isiZulu).
The leaves, stems, and flowers of the wormwood plant all have very powerful medicinal properties and can be used fresh or dried, often made into teas to help with a variety of illnesses.
The sudden spike of interest about the medicinal properties of Artemisia happened after the president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, promoted in April 2020 a new natural supplement as a possible treatment for the latest worldwide-spread viral outbreak. The news about this locally produced herbal supplement went viral and Artemisia became a star herb overnight.
For the average reader the information available on the web is confusing – some sources claim Artemisia is a cure for many infections including viral, others say it has no health benefits whatsoever. We’ve been following the heated arguments between those who promote natural means and the modern medicine practitioners in regards to the benefits of Artemisia and below is a short summary of possible health benefits this fascinating plant provides:
Recommended for treating cold, cough and fevers:
Artemisia has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine and for treating fever, cold and coughs. The plant is rich in polysaccharides, glycans and inulin, which are shown in laboratory trials to protect from enteric and systemic pathogens.
Effective treatment for Malaria:
Artemisinin, an active compound found in Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood), is known to be one of the strongest natural anti-malarial agent, recognised and recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO). This bioactive ingredient was first isolated by Chinese researchers is 1972 and even since it is considered the most effective drug in treating cerebral malaria and chloroquine resistant falciparum malaria.
Powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties:
Wormwood essential oil has been found to exhibit promising anti-microbial and ant-ifungal capabilities. The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry has research that shows that wormwood essential oil has strong antimicrobial effects on various bacterial strains including E. coli and salmonella.
Moreover, along with its antimicrobial properties, it has also got powerful anti-fungal abilities. The oil that is extracted from Artemisia absinthium was found to hinder the growth of a wide variety of fungi.
Effective against SIBO and Crohn’s disease:
Wormwood tea and capsules are potentially very helpful in fighting against small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) symptoms.
A study that was conducted in Germany on 40 patients that were on steroids for Crohn’s disease, was given herbal blend containing 500 milligrams of wormwood. The steroids were maintained up until week two and then after that, they were slowly decreased until zero steroids were taken by the 10th week. Steady improvement was found in 18 of the patients with Crohn’s disease despite the decrease in steroids.
Wormwood was found to be effective in decreasing or removing the need for steroids in Crohn’s disease patients. It was also found that wormwood helped to improve mood and overall quality of life in the patients.
Anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating properties:
Artemisinin is thought to inhibit cytokines and prevent cytokines storm which in turn helps the immune system from overload.
Wormwood is said to be effective for removing intestinal worms such as pinworms, tapeworms, and roundworms. A study, done in 2018, found that Wormwood effectively caused worm paralysis, death, and ultrastructural alterations.
The anti-viral properties of Artemisia have been researched for the past few months and official results are pending.
Artemisia is a plant with versatile health benefits and can be taken as a tea, extract, tinctures, and even in skin ointments.
Please, note that Artemisia is a very potent plant and it must be used with caution. Consult your health practitioner if not sure or if you have an existing health condition.
Organic Choice stocks herbal powders, tinctures and extracts from locally grown Artemisia plant varieties by Proudly South African brands.
Neogenesis range includes capsules and tinctures in highly concentrated form. Their Lamaria capsules are full spectrum 100% yeald extracts of Artemisia annua, 4 times stronger than industry extracts; and are alkalized with 90 ionic trace minerals and Fulvic Acid. The tinctures are made with the freshest organically grown, wild-crafted herbs and are
Meridian Herbs uses their own organically grown herbs. Their capsules contain a pure powdered form of Lengana (Artemisia Afra).
Disclaimer: We make no claims to the effectiveness of Artemisia in the treatment of viral infections. Research is still underway to investigate its efficacy and there is currently no scientifically proven treatment. Artemisia is not a proven cure or treatment for COVID-19 and has not been evaluated as such by WHO.